posted on January 27, 2013 19:45
Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
January 27, 2013 - 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Special Mass at 5 PM: To honor Blessed Sacrament Catholic Lighthouse Leadership School as a Covey Lighthouse School
Over the past few years our children have been learning the habits so each one of them will reach their very personal best. If you follow the habits you eventually will find your voice. Tonight I want to talk about two of those habits and how they fit into our lives at home, at school and here where we worship.
The first habit is to put first things first. If Jesus were standing here tonight he would ask, “How do you do that?” Then everybody here, including our children who learn the habits at school and take them home to their parents and family could answer, “It's not always easy. But when I do it, I feel so good.”
Putting first things first means that God has to be in the mixture of all of that. All of us need to pray. At home we do this at mealtime right before we eat. Every family might pray in a different way. We thank God for the food, that we have each other, and that we are sitting here together at this table. Sometimes at that table brothers and sisters may go after each other and argue. Mom and Dad will have to say, “Let's quiet down and eat.” But in the end we always know that what takes place at that kitchen table is that we share love with each other. We put each other first.
When we bring that to school we know that whether it is the eighth grade or the pre-school, or the third grade or the fifth grade, the teachers and staff - everybody in the entire school has a different gift.
When a student thinks, “My classmate is really good at something I'm not good at. And I am going to convince him or her to be their very best. And I can teach them that when they do something very good and they are being their very best - it is important to me.” Then our school is not a bunch of individual children. It's a family because we are always putting first things first.
When we come to church: We can all bring our gifts, we can all bring our problems. Someone may be sitting here tonight and they have had a death in the family. Someone else may have had a new birth in the family. Someone else may say, “Our son or daughter got engaged this week.” A high school student might say, “I got accepted at the college of my choice.” Another person may say, “I've been sick all week and I still don't feel very good.”
Then we can look at each other and say, “I want to rejoice with you. And I want to be your support if things are not going well.” Then we don't come here as a group of individuals, we come here as a parish family. We know that we come here to be a part of something greater than ourselves, and we learn that if we are going to understand each other we have to put the other person first.
The other quality that all the children have learned is how to synergize. Synergize means you learn how to work together, how to play together, and how to do wonderful things as a group. You saw that this evening as the children gathered around us to sing. At every school Mass, something the children do so naturally is to sing each song in motion.
If we ever have students in our school who are deaf, they will feel very much at home. Because when we are at Mass or up in the gym singing, we use the signs and someone who is deaf would understand exactly what the signs mean and blend right in and know they are not different. They will feel at home and become one of us. That's what it means to synergize - that by working together we bring out the very best in every single person.
Tonight when we came to church, one of us could have arrived early to be here alone. But the fact that all of us are now here together - we've come for one reason and we synergize and we awaken each other that this event is something fantastic to celebrate. It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about all of us wanting to be God's children and God's family. So every time we pray, every time we gather for any kind of a parish event, any time you celebrate a birthday at home, any time you gather for Thanksgiving - you're synergizing your love, your faith, your hope. That's what it's all about.
It's about being part of God's family, and when you and I do these things, that's how we find our voice. That's how we become the person that God is calling us to be, and we can say without any excuses, “I don't like to get up in front of people and have to speak. But I really love to sing.” Or, “I'm petrified to sing. But I can help my mother at home.”
And then we realize, “I don't have to have it all. I just need to be a part of something greater than myself.” And when we have that - whether we're young children, older parents, older grandparents - we all fit into the same picture and we realize that we are God's family and God's children.
So tonight as we celebrate the honor of being designated a Covey Lighthouse School, we have accomplished this because everyone has worked together, and everyone has found their own voice day by day. And united we now have a voice that belongs to us and it's a voice that's not going to stop tonight, and it's not going to stop next year. It's going to be passed from generation to generation. God will always say, “I gave you that voice. Today and tonight everything is being fulfilled in my name, and in the presence of all of us.”
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.